From the monthly archives: "February 2005"

Dear Sir
We have a dairy and we specialize in hard and soft cheese (France and Italian Style. For the last few weeks we see a development of brown layer with small particles on some of our cheeses. This layer seems to deteriorate the cheese (small holes). Under a microscope it seems like kind of insect (pictures attached). We will appreciate if you could help and advise to identified the insect, it’s origin and ways to disinfect. Thank you in advance
Best regards
Michal Lidor

Hi Mike,
You have some species of Culture Mite, possibly of the genuses Acarus or Tyrophagus. We have been unable to locate any specific information except that they infest foods. Sorry, I can’t tell you how to disinfect without destroying the integrity of the cheese.

Update from Barry M. OConnor (05/23/2006)
Culture mites (2/14/05). You’re right that this is a species of Acarus, most likely Acarus siro. This is the most common "cheese mite" infesting cheese produced in traditional operations. As a historical note, this species was the first mite named by Linnaeus!

Help!! Bug invasion
I don’t know what kind of bug has invaded my home!! I saw a dead one of these in my basement a few weeks ago.. We just found another one in the upstairs bathroom yesterday.. so my husband sprayed the basment with a household bug spray and I found this one late that night on the wall in my livingroom…. it tried to hide behind my picture frame. Do I have a serious problem here???

Hi Michelle,
The seriousness of the problem is relative. What you do have is an immature cockroach.

Rude Bug
I have seen several of these little creepy things. I live in Houston, TX right next to a bayou and have all kinds of bugs dropping by for tea. This one gave me a dirty look (and I think a middle finger). My brother says he thinks it is a silverfish but I think it might be a type of centipede. Either way, it was rather rude! Any idea what it is?

Hi Sarah,
Poor, harmless, dead House Centipede never did anything to harm anyone.

Can’t find this bug’s info anywhere!
The attached photo shows the bug. He and his friends are located in a patch of flowers in our back yard. I believe they are eating the leaves. Let me know if you need more info on the location. Any help you can provide me in.

Hi there,
You have an immature Harlequin Bug, Murgantia histrionica. They have sucking mouthparts and are often pests on cultivated plants in the cabbage family as well as on Sweet Alyssum and wild mustard. They are colorful members of the stinkbug family Pentatomidae.

Hello from Trinidad and Tobago
Just blogged your site for, and you should get some more viewers that way… 2 reasons for writing. You’re providing an invaluable service, and I’m going to thank you. Because of your site I was able to identify one spider (I forget it’s name) that’s called a tailless scorpion or something… Scared the hell out of me when I was cleaning the yard last year! 🙂 Harmless, and it’s still around. You might find some of these pictures useful: you’re free to use them. Some of them I have no idea of what they are (like the ones near the carilee), but the majority look like stinkbugs – colorful. The Jack Spaniard is very common here. Your site is reaching the size where a content management system might help you – save you and users time, etc. I don’t know how savvy you folks are, but I would suggest Drupal ( ) when the next release comes out. I think your site has grown to a level where, though obviously a labor of love, it might become limiting to you and others. Drupal’s free to use and install. It’s open source. You can do it yourself if you want – and if you run into problems, there are a lot of people who can help. It doesn’t hurt to look. And it could help you get the site to pay for itself by making information easier to find. Good luck, and please keep up the good work. I just thought you might like to consider those ideas.
Taran Rampersad
Presently in: San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago

Hi Taran,
Until our current webhost, who is managing things for us, kicks us to the curb, we are going to keep the status quo, but thanks for the advice. We love your local name for your Polistes Paper Wasp. Do you know the origin of Jack Spaniard?

Speculation: Probably something along the lines of ‘stings like a Spaniard’, especially in a former Spanish and then English colony. Trinidad and Tobago has quite a mix in names because of it’s mixed past. I believe that they call it the same in Guyana. Perhaps it’s a British colonial name for an insect that stings pretty aggressively.

Hello Again,
I was taking a walk the other day and got a picture of this grasshopper on a brick fence with my camera phone. He was farley large about two or three inches and his wings looked like blades of grass, he was very neat. What kind is it??? I live in montebello, california. Thanks for the website!!!
Darcy Jimenez

Hi Darcy,
You have a Katydid, but it is difficult to determine the species from your photograph. They are usually seen and not heard because they are excellently camouflaged in foilage.